Life as a band wife: the first ring of hell

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To those who date musicians: you don’t actually have to carry the gear

My original plan for this article was to write a list of pro-tips on how to date a musician. But the more I thought about it, the harder it became to list a series of tips. The truth is, dating a musician can be a really hard and soul sucking thing to do.

That sounds a little bitter, doesn’t it? Well… stick with me for a moment here, I’m headed towards a happy conclusion – I promise.

You see, for five years of my life I was a band wife. I lived in a two bedroom apartment with a guitar genius and shared space with amps, guitars and pedals… so many pedals. I’d be writing an essay on the death ceremonies of some long-extinct tribe while he locked himself in the unofficial music room for hours, playing the same chords over and over again. At dinner, I’d listen to him explain to me that the lyrics on his latest tune needed some tweaking and that I needed to go pick him up some new strings when I am out next – am I going out tonight, could I get them right away? Sigh.

Then, my gig night (his) always followed the same pattern:

Step one: Carry gear, including the Marshall half-stack, from house to the car. Drive. Then carry gear from the car to the gig.

Step two: Sit at the bar and watch Videodrome on screen behind bartender’s head while the band plays the same songs you’ve already heard a million times over.

Step three: Carry gear, including the Marshall half-stack, from the gig to the car. Drive. Then carry it from the car to the house.

Step four: Drive partner back to the bar so s/he can enjoy the spoils of a good gig.

Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it? Nope. Then why do it?

Well, as an official member of the ex band-wives club, I’ve gained some perspective that I’m willing to share with all you who have crushes on the guitar player and/or drummer (no one crushes on the bass player – what gives?) because there is a way to have your cake and eat it too.

First of all make no mistake about it, when you date a musician (as opposed to, I dunno, banging in the bathroom at Amigos) you aren’t just dating the person, you are dating the music. ‘Cause let’s face it, to date a musician is a little bit like dating an addict – you will never be their first love.

But here’s the big secret: if they get another love, so do you.

This is the chance to freely do those things that you have a passion for; tap-dance lessons, lawn bowling, portraiture painting – whatever you love, you get to love it completely without guilt. You don’t have to schedule time for it nor do you have to do justify your obscure hobby to your partner. There is no need to consider how your partner feels about it because hey, they are doing their thing without considering how you feel about it. It is completely freeing – and that’s a rare thing these days.

Sharon Osborne took the opportunity to establish her own career in the music industry and is now a judge on some reality music show, while Shannon Tweed still models and does a little philanthropy on the side (a lot right here in Saskatoon). If you stop to think about it, the very fact that these band wives are household names kinda proves the point about how dating a musician can prove to be good for you. Even this gal has turned her band wife status in to a reason to build her own following and showcase her mundane DIY ideas. And really, there’s nothing wrong with using someone else’s coattails for a little bit.

So go ahead and date a musician and fall in love with your own passions. But always remember this one-and-only pro-tip I can offer all you lovers of rockers:

You don’t actually have to carry the gear.

– Featured photo from Flickr user “nycgeo” – Creative Commons.